Sunday, April 09, 2006

With GKC through Holy Week: Why Jesus came...

Now, compared to these wanderers [Apollonius of Tyana, Socrates, Buddha] the life of Jesus went as swift and straight as a thunderbolt. It was above all things dramatic; it did above all things consist in doing something that had to be done. It emphatically would not have been done if Jesus had walked about the world for ever doing nothing except tell the truth. And even the external movement of it must not be described as a wandering in the sense of forgetting that it was a journey. This is where it was a fulfilment of the myths rather than of the philosophies; it is a journey with a goal and an object, like Jason going to find the Golden Fleece, or Hercules the golden apples of the Hesperides. The gold that he was seeking was death. The primary thing that he was going to do was to die. [See Mt 16:21, Lk 12:49-50] He was going to do other things equally definite and objective; we might almost say equally external and material. But from first to last the most definite fact is that he is going to die. No two things could possibly be more different than the death of Socrates and the death of Christ. We are meant to feel that the death of Socrates was, from the point of view of his friends at least, a stupid muddle and miscarriage of justice interfering with the flow of a humane and lucid, I had almost said a light philosophy. We are meant to feel that Death was the bride of Christ as Poverty was the bride of St. Francis. [cf. GKC, St. Francis of Assisi CW2:68] We are meant to feel that his life was in that sense a sort of love-affair with death, a romance of the pursuit of the ultimate sacrifice. From the moment when the star goes up like a birthday rocket [Mt 2:2] to the moment when the sun is extinguished like a funeral torch, [Lk 23:45] the whole story moves on wings with the speed and direction of a drama, ending in an act beyond words.
[GKC, The Everlasting Man CW2:339, emphasis added]


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